§ Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Carr (Carshalton)
It is astonishing that the Government presume neither to move nor to argue in any way a clause of this kind. When one thinks of what is at stake and the very strong views aroused in the House and felt by the majority of the last Parliament, the thought that the Government should imagine that they will achieve this clause without in any way attempting to justify it is hitting a new low, even for them.
We must oppose this clause, and we intend to ask the House to reject it, because its effect is to give certain trade unions unfairly privileged treatment over 582 all other taxpayers. The clause proposes to do so by retrospectively refunding £10 million of tax paid by the unions concerned because—and only because—they deliberately chose as part of a political campaign to refrain from taking any of the courses of action properly provided for them had they wished to protect their provident funds from this tax.
I know of no precedent for retrospective legislation designed to relieve a taxpayer of a burden which he could have avoided by his own action but which he consciously chose not to avoid.
As with Clause 5, this is a case of the Government returning to a proposal which they introduced during the last Parliament but upon which they were defeated by the will of the majority of the last House of Commons. As a result of that defeat on 16th July last, the Government introduced an amended version of their proposal, which removed the objectionable retrospective element. Let me stress that it is only the retrospective element which was, and still is, objectionable.
The revised proposal, which removed the retrospective element, was accepted 583 by the House without any objection. Having reached that unanimous agreement in July, the Government should have left the matter there and not revived it today. To revive and force through a proposal for retrospective action which is against the will of Parliament, expressed as recently as July last after several very full debates, is both shabby and wrong. It is an unnecessary and deliberate provocation. It has no justification in terms of merit or fair treatment for those concerned. On the contrary, it is an act of unfairness against all other taxpayers. Why should the general body of taxpayers be asked to pay back to trade unions £10 million which they chose to expend in support of a political campaign?
The unions had a perfect right to expend this amount of money if they believed that it was in their members' interests. But they have no right to expect the general body of taxpayers to repay it to them now, and it is grossly improper for a Government who are supposed to govern on behalf of all the people and on behalf of all sections of the community to attempt to force the rest of the taxpayers to pay out this sum. In fact, it is nothing more than a payment of Danegeld which should be, and I hope will be, resisted and rejected.
Let me briefly recall the history of this affair, which is part and parcel of the trade unions' campaign against the Industrial Relations Act. It has long been accepted in this country, and rightly so, that the provident funds of unions should be relieved from tax. There is no argument about that. As the Secretary of State for Employment at the time, I made it quite clear that it was not the intention that this relief should be taken away by the Industrial Relations Act.
There were two ways in which unions could have protected their provident funds against the tax which they subsequently paid. The first, and the easiest way was registration. I say in passing that a new form of registration, as a condition of a union obtaining its special rights and privileges, was not some Tory invention. It was proposed unanimously by the Donovan Commission, which had trade unionists among its members, and it was also put forward by the Labour Government in 1969. So registration was 584 the first, the easiest and the automatic way of protecting the provident funds of these unions.
As we realised and always made clear, however, unions had a perfect right not to register if they so decided. I made it clear that I wanted to be sure that if a union exercised its right not to register, however misguided I might think that was on general public grounds and on general union grounds, it should have available to it some other means of protecting its provident funds from taxation. I took the most careful legal advice on the matter, and I advised the House on a number of occasions, the first time on 23rd March 1971, that the alternative way of doing it was by… hiving off its provident funds … into separate organisations, registering them as friendly societies …"—[Official Report, 23rd March 1971; Vol. 814, c. 326.]I recognised that this second method would not always be easy and quick and might be considerably difficult and inconvenient. But, having taken the most careful legal advice, I was satisfied that it was a feasible and practical method. But, because it might be difficult and because it might take time, the Conservative Government in the 1971 Finance Act gave the unions a whole year in which to make the necessary arrangements. I felt that it would involve them in taking legal advice and in making what could be quite complicated legal arrangements and that it was fair and right that additional time should be given. That is why the Conservative Government gave that additional year for the unions to have a proper chance to make the necessary arrangements.
After full debates in another place and after many consultations in another place with my noble Friend who was then Lord Chancellor and with Lord Diamond, who met our legal advisers and the unions' legal advisers to discuss this matter, it was also clearly understood that if the unions tried to hive off their provident funds in the way suggested and found it in practice impossible to do so the Conservative Government would consider finding alternative methods. But no union ever came back to me while I was still Secretary of State for Employment, or to either of my successors in the Conservative Government, to say it had tried and had found that the legal advice that 585 I had been given, and had accepted, was in practice wrong and incapable of achievement and, therefore, to ask me whether I would provide another way of honouring my promise. Had any single union come forward to me or my successors at that time with evidence that it had tried to use the method I had suggested and found it impossible to do so, I or my successors would, of course, have felt an obligation to find a remedy.
The fact is that the unions did not do so. Neither any individual union nor the TUC collectively came forward to the Conservative Government to say "We have tried. Our legal advice was right. Your legal advice was wrong, and, therefore, will you please honour your undertaking by finding another method?" At no time was that done by any union individually or by the TUC collectively. I suggest that the only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that the unions which decided not to register did not attempt to protect their provident funds in any other way as a deliberate choice of their own, for their own reasons. I believe those reasons were that they felt that to pay tax on their provident funds and to allege that they were having to do so because of the Industrial Relations Act would stimulate the pressure of opposition to the Act among their members and among others in a larger circle.
I am not saying that that was an improper thing to do if the unions believed that that was in their members' interest. I believe that that is the only interpretation that can be put on the unions' failure to try to use the method provided and if they found it would not work to come forward to the Government and say they had tried and failed and ask for an alternative.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)
The right hon. Gentleman having referred to unions which did not register, will he now refer to the situation that is facing the country with the threat of an imminent lock-out in the whole newspaper industry because of a union which did register because of which it is not possible to reach an agreement now? Is he aware that the National Graphical Association did register and left the TUC, and that, whereas all the other print unions are being guaranteed by the TUC at this time, the NGA is separate, and that the reason it registered was the right hon.
586 Gentleman's legislation, because it had very large welfare funds and wanted to ensure that under his legislation it was safe. Responsibility for the present grave crisis in the newspaper industry—this is supported by many of the newspapers—lies in the fact that the right hon. Gentleman forced that union into registering and leaving the TUC.
§ Mr. Carr
I am not sure whether that is in order under this clause. If it is, I will willingly enter into debate with the Prime Minister on it, but what he is saying is complete nonsense. It is not a fact. If all unions had registered, as the Prime Minister himself said they should in 1969, this would not have arisen. The Prime Minister's White Paper In Place of Strife made registration a condition of achieving trade union status and the rights, obligations and privileges that go with it, as did the Donovan Commission. The Prime Minister knows that quite well. He cannot deny it, because when we debated this matter in July I quoted paragraph by paragraph from his then Government's White Paper In Place of Strife to prove the point I am now making. How ever, that is irrelevant.
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Carr
It may be very important and we could have another debate about it and I could prove that the Prime Minister is talking irresponsible nonsense, but it is nothing to do with this matter of the retrospective repayment of money paid deliberately and properly by unions when they need not have done so. The unions need not have paid this tax, but they did so deliberately because they deliberately failed to try to use the methods which were provided and they deliberately did not take up the offer which was made to them that if they were to try and were to find that the advice we had been given was wrong and that they could not hive off their funds to protect them they should come and discuss the matter with us.
§ Mr. Norman Atkinson (Tottenham)
May I refresh the right hon. Gentleman's memory as to what his right hon. and learned Friend the then Solicitor-General said when talking about the retrospective possibilities of some situation arising such 587 as a trade union deciding not to register and then subsequently becoming convinced that it was in the interests of its members to do so and reversing its policy? The words stated in Hansard are that the Solicitor-General then made the promise to the House of Commons that the then Government would retropsectively compensate those unions and find means whereby it was possible to do that. That is the promise that this Government are now carrying out.
§ Mr. Atkinson
The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but if he looks at Hansard he will see that a very clear promise was made by the then Solicitor-General that these funds would be returned to the unions retrospectively if they subsequently changed their minds and decided to register.
§ Mr. Carr
If the hon. Gentleman would care to give the Hansard reference, my right hon. Friend the Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) will look it up and reply to the point later. I know that I was Secretary of State for Employment at the time, the Minister responsible. I know the promises that were made to the House of Commons and to the unions. I know that they were kept. I know that the unions did not take up the offer of trying to use the method that I had been advised was feasible. I repeat that I took the most careful and full legal advice before I advised the House of Commons that the method was feasible.
I also made it clear, following the further representations while the Bill was being dealt with in another place, that if, in spite of the advice which I had had and which the Government had accepted, the unions found in practice that they could not protect their funds in the way suggested, we could consider alternative methods. I repeat that that offer was never taken up either by any union individually or by the trade union movement collectively.
I repeat that I believe that the only reason for that can have been that the unions felt that to pay this tax out of their provident funds would support the political campaign that they were then waging. Indeed, the only other reason 588 for their not attempting to protect their funds in the way suggested can have been gross carelessness and negligence on the part of the unions in safeguarding their members' funds. I certainly do not believe it was that, because I know that unions are not grossly careless and negligent in protecting their members' funds. What other reason could there have been? It was either carelessness and negligence or it was the deliberate refraining from taking the measures which were open to them and, if they found that they did not work, coming back to the Government and taking up their offer to reconsider the matter and to find other ways.
Had any union come to the Government and said "We have tried but we have failed to protect our funds in the way advised and we, therefore, ask you to honour your promise to find other means such as setting up a special register quite apart from the main register under the Industrial Relations Act". and had the then Conservative Government refused to do so there might have been a case for this retrospective action.
That as a matter of hard historical fact is not what happened. There is no evidence to suggest that the unions which paid this tax made any serious effort to relieve themselves of the burden. It is a confirmation of that that they did not make any approach to me or my successors on the ground that the methods we had provided had proved impossible of achievement in practice. We must conclude that the unions paid this tax deliberately as a matter of policy for their own purposes, and, therefore, they have no right to ask the taxpayers to repay it. I ask the Committee to reject this clause as a shabby, dishonourable proposal.
§ Dr. Gilbert
I was expecting that there would be more enthusiasm on the part of Conservative Members to follow the right hon. Member for Carlshalton (Mr. Carr) in his discourse. However, as we noticed during the Committee proceedings on the Finance Bill of last December, despite all his attempts at fiery eloquence he singularly failed to get his colleagues to share his cause. Listening to him this evening I do not find that surprising, because his discourse was—[Interruption]—very much in the nature of a mea ex culpa for his—[Interruption]. If the hon. Member 589 for Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Stain-ton) wishes to intervene I will give way.
§ Mr. Keith Stainton (Sudbury and Woodbridge)
I was observing that the hon. Gentleman might just be premature in his remarks. I am simply restraining myself to hear what he has to say in the face of the convincing argument put forward by my right hon. Friend. It is wrong of him to taunt the Committee at this point. It is noteworthy that while some of my hon. Friends were endeavouring to get to their feet to catch the Chairman's eye, no Labour Members rose from behind the Treasury Bench.
§ Dr. Gilbert
I did not know that the hon. Gentleman had eyes at the back of his head. I was watching carefully and I can assure him that I would not have risen if any Conservative Members had attempted to intervene. However that is a minor point.
The right hon. Gentleman treated the Committee to a mea ex culpa of considerable length. We can understand why he feels the need to do so. The main burden of his thrust was his query why the general body of taxpayers should repay to the unions this sum of £10 million. The answer is quite simple. It is because the general body of taxpayers should never have been subsidised by the provident funds of the unions in the first place. It is the provident funds we are talking about. The right hon. Gentleman talks about the unions as a corporate whole. We are not talking about their political or strike funds. I would not have thought it was necessary to repeat that, but it seems to be. The provident funds were liable for this £10 million.
These funds are available for payments, as authorised under the registered rules of the trade unions, to a member out of work through sickness or incapacity through personal injury—this does not include strike or lock-out payments—to a member by way of superannuation, to a member who has met with an accident, to a member who has lost his tools by fire or theft or for the funeral expenses on the death of a member of his wife, or as provision for the children of a deceased member.
I am sure that all these matters are familiar to the right hon. Gentleman. What we are talking about is not an 590 attempt by the Labour Party to pay Danegeld to reimburse the trade union movement with political funds to put it in a better position to carry on strikes or such other activities as might not commend themselves to Conservative Members. We are talking about the legimate ability of the unions to service their members in cases of distress. The right hon. Gentleman is fully aware of that.
The Clause restores to the trade union movement the provident benefit income exemption for the period from 6th April 1972 to 15th September 1974 for various categories, to trade unions which deregistered under the Industrial Relations Act, to new unions that were not involved, and newly amalgamated unions formed after 30th September 1971 which did not register under the Act. It also secures relief for those trade unions which ceased to exist after the coming into effect of that Act as the result of subsequent amalgamations.
The right hon. Gentleman has taken his stance against retrospection. In reply to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he said:no one likes retrospective legislation but it is justifiable when it is introduced to right a wrong which it was never intended should be inflicted.
§ Dr. Gilbert
I am glad to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson) endorse that view.
I could go on at length quoting the debates that took place earlier this year on a similar provision, but I cannot see that there is any profit to the Committee in going over the details of the argument.
§ Mr. Lawson
When the Financial Secretary made that quotation he should have pointed out that my right hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton (Mr. Carr) was quoting with approval what the Prime Minister said.
§ Dr. Gilbert
That is right. I shall quote the right hon. Member for Carshalton further. This is the right hon. Gentleman's own language:I accept that test as one which might well justify the exceptional measure of retrospective legislation. Speaking for myself, the answer 591 to the right hon. Gentleman is "Yes"."—[Official Report, 19th June 1974; Vol. 875, c. 512.]
§ Mr. Robert Carr
I have said tonight that if this burden had been inflicted on the unions and they could not have avoided it there would have been a case for retrospection. The whole tenor of my argument tonight, as it was then, is that the means of avoiding this burden were provided for the trade unions and they deliberately did not take advantage of them; nor did they take up the alternative offer of saying to the Government, "We cannot use this method; find us another one".
§ Dr. Gilbert
The right hon. Gentleman is not uninformed about these matters, and is normally quite fair, but he is perfectly well aware that the course open to the trade unions, which was to set up a separate friendly society fund for their provident fund, was discussed by the two unions and discussed with the General Council of the TUC. Legal advice was taken, and it was found not to be practicable in the case of those unions. It is simply not the case that the trade union movement, frivolously, did not avail itself of opportunities freely open to it to take advantage of an easy way out of an unjust situation—which I acquit the right hon. Gentleman of intending.
§ Mr. Robert Carr
In the July debate we asked for such evidence and it was not given. Will the Financial Secretary tell us to which two unions he is referring, and when? What were the difficulties? Was any approach made to the Government to fulfil their promise to provide an alternative method if the method suggested proved to be no good?
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ Dr. Gilbert
The right hon. Gentleman forces me to quote in extenso from my right hon. Friends the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Employment, and no words of mine could improve on theirs. I quote what was said by the Secretary of State for Employment when discussing a solution put forward by the Liberal Party, which is tonight conspicuous by its absence. My right hon. Friend said:The conclusion was that the friendly society solution would secure fairly comprehensive tax protection but would create severe administrative 592 difficulties …".—[Official Report, 19th June 1974; Vol. 875, c. 603.]My right hon. Friend then set out the four points, and they are all listed in that column. Does the right hon. Gentleman want me to read them to the Committee?
§ Mr. Robert Carr
Will the hon. Gentleman say which unions did this and whether, having done it, they asked the Government of the day to honour the promise and to provide an alternative method?
§ Mr. Stainton
On a point of order. Sir Oscar. It is appropriate in a debate of this importance that reference should be made to two unions having taken certain steps without the Minister responsible being prepared to disclose for the record their names?
§ Dr. Gilbert
I am merely quoting in extenso from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment.
§ Dr. Gilbert
I was saying that two unions made an approach to the Registrar of Friendly Societies. The right hon. Gentleman is well aware of that. The answer which they received was very much on the lines of the answer which the TUC had already received. The practical obstacles to following this supposed solution were theoretical and would never have been implemented. The sort of legalistic and pedantic statements which have been made are uncharacteristic of the right hon. Gentleman. It shows that he must have an extremely guilty conscience in this matter. I would normally acquit him of insensitivity. It shows how he fumbles for a technical, bureaucratic excuse for the course of combat which he pursued. He is aware that the practical difficulties in the way of implementing such a solution stopped the trade union movement taking the course he suggested.
§ Mr. Hordern
The Minister complained that the trade unions were forced through their provident funds to pay the sum of £10 million in tax. Will he tell the Committee whether, if the clause is passed, that £10 million will go to the provident funds of the trade unions or to the trade unions themselves?
§ Dr. Gilbert
The intention of course is that it should go to the provident funds of the trade unions. As I was saying, I acquit the right hon. Member for Carshalton of any criminal intent. I accept that it was an original error. I accept that the then Conservative Government did not intend the trade unions to lose the relief and that it is that unintended result of the Industrial Relations Act which we are now debating.
The Times published a leader on this subject on 24th April 1974, and whatever else one may say about that newspaper it is not notably susceptible to the views of the Labour Party or of the trade union movement on the subject of industrial affairs, and is more likely to adopt the view of the right hon. Member for Carshalton. In that leader The Times said—and these are important words because they come from a relatively impartial source—If it is said that the income from funds which deserve to have charitable status were made liable to tax either by inadvertence or on false principles, it cannot be very wrong to correct the error with effect from the time the error was committed.That is the whole burden of our case.
I acquit the right hon. Gentleman of evil intent, but he stands convicted out of his own mouth of deliberately persisting in error and injustice long after the point of that error and injustice had become clear to the victims, long after the matter had become clear to objective observers such as The Times—and, indeed, right up to the time of this debate, when the right hon. Member for Carshalton, as one of the principal authors of 594 that error and injustice made his view known.
The act of deregistration under the Industrial Relations Act 1971 was within the law. There was no need for new unions to register. Everything that they did was legal. We are determined to restore the tax relief which was denied to them as a result of what can only be described as a bureaucratic blunder by the right hon. Gentleman, whose concern for his own face has made it impossible for him to acknowledge. I am delighted to commend the clause to my right hon. and hon. Friends.
§ Mr. Robert Carr
Before the hon. Gentleman sits down, may I ask how he accounts for the fact that when the unions were told that if the legal advice that we had been given proved to be wrong they could come back to us and ask for an alternative method to be found, they did not do so? How can the hon. Gentleman now accuse us of deliberately causing this payment of tax? The advice that he quoted from the TUC was not given after any union had tried to do that. It was given in July 1971, as his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment made clear on 19th June, and a further two and a half years went by without any single union or the TUC collectively coming and saying to us "This was a bureaucratic mistake", or whatever the hon. Gentleman likes to call it, "so will you honour your promise to find an alternative method?" They did not do that.
§ Dr. Gilbert
I really am surprised at the right hon. Gentleman if he is reduced to taking that stand. Is he suggesting that he never knew because nobody told him during that time? He and his hon. Friends can read. The situation was known to him. It is absolutely disingenuous of him to pretend that he did not have prime responsibility in this matter and could not have dealt with it at any time that he wished.
§ Mr. Leon Brittan (Cleveland and Whitby)
Mr. Murton, I look forward to the time when I shall be able to address you as Sir Oscar. However, I feel that that honour will be more appreciated when it is properly conferred than when it is given informally by hon. Members.
I should like to consider some of the arguments that have been put forward by the Financial Secretary in favour of this extraordinary provision in the Bill. The hon. Gentleman argued that the general body of taxpayers should never have been subsidised, as he put it, by the provident funds of the trade union movement. In support of that argument he gave us a heartrending account of the purposes to which the trade union movement's provident funds were put.
We are all familiar with those purposes. I am sure that many hon. Members on this side of the Committee and many people in the country would feel that if the purposes of the trade union movement's provident funds were as beneficient, desirable and charitable as were described by the hon. Gentleman, it was all the more important that those responsible for those funds should have taken the necessary steps to ensure that they were not met by tax liabilities that could readily have been avoided if the unions had taken the action of registering under the Industrial Relations Act 1971.
§ Mr. Sandelson
Will the hon. Gentleman tell the Committee straight out whether it is his belief now that those funds should be irrevocably forfeited by the trade unions?
§ Mr. Brittan
I have no hesitation in saying that I definitely wish that to happen. It is not the responsibility of the country, of the House of Commons or of the Government to ensure that funds albeit for charitable purposes, are maintained intact if the people responsible for those funds did not take the steps which they knew were open to them to make sure that those funds stayed intact.
The argument for this retrospection is fallacious and rests on the claim that special circumstances are involved—that it was found not to be practicable to take the alternative steps which were open to 596 the unions. We have not been given the names of the two unions concerned, in spite of repeated requests. We have not been able to examine whether it was truly impracticable. There has been no answer to the point that the unions could have applied to the then Secretary of State for action to be taken.
So it is not right to say that this retrospection is justified just because this wrong was never intended. It was never intended, but it could always have been avoided.
§ Dr. Gilbert
The hon. Gentleman says that at no time were the practical effects acknowledged by the previous Government—I would not go so far as to say that they were not known. I call his attention to column 1425 of the Official Report for 10th July 1973, a year earlier than the last debate. The then Minister of State, Treasury said:I realise that there are practical difficulties in some cases in that for these purposes provident funds have to be alienated from the main union funds … I am, therefore, aware that what I am now suggesting cannot apply or appears not to apply in every case.—[Official Report, 10th July 1973; Vol. 859. c. 1425.]If it was clear to the Minister of State, surely to Heaven the right hon. Gentleman would have known about it.
§ Mr. Brittan
That was in 1973. We were talking about 1971 earlier. I was going on to say that even if last July arguments commended themselves to hon. Members opposite for this extraordinary course, circumstances have changed and it is much less desirable than it was even last July.
The changed circumstances are the deterioration in our economic situation. One is entitled to ask what priority, if any, should now be given to restoring this sum to the funds of the unions which could, if properly managed, have kept the money. I maintain that no priority should be given to that expenditure.
Examples have been given tonight of meritorious classes of people who are genuinely suffering from the Government's tax provisions and in respect of whom the Government say that they cannot afford any relief. This limited supply of money could be readily diverted to the aid of such people.
597 If we are to resolve our economic difficulties, we must unite the nation by following policies not based on class considerations but genuinely designed to deal with the problems. A purely class provision at this time, introduced because of the pressure of the trade union movement, will set back the cause of national unity, which is the only way of dealing with our grave problems.
§ 10.30 p.m.
§ Mr. John Tomlinson (Meriden)
I propose to occupy about two minutes of the time of the Committee as I believe it is important to debate issues of principle without necessarily being intimidated by anybody in so doing.
A number of important issues have to be stated in this debate. One of them is in response to the right hon. Member for Carshalton (Mr. Carr) who said that his door was always open. That is precisely the same right hon. Gentleman who, when we had a consultative document on the Industrial Relations Bill, said that he was prepared to consult only on detail and not on principle. That is the kind of consultation that we learned to expect from him before the Industrial Relations Act was placed on the statute book. He said that provision was made by him to allow the unions to find a way round a problem with which he did not intend to confront them in the first place.
The legal advice that was given to the Trades Union Congress was abundantly clear, and, on the basis of the legal advice that the TUC took, it had to advise its affiliated unions that the only way to get round the obstacle that the right hon. Member for Carshalton had put in their way was totally to hive off their friendly society activities. That would have meant separate contributions, separate accounting systems and separate management of those systems, and the individual in each case would have had to determine whether he wanted to hive off or not. It would have been necessary to have duplicate systems for those parts of the unions where this hiving-off process took place and for those parts where it did not take place.
It is nonsense for the right hon. Gentleman to say that he had found a solution. To say that he had offered to keep his door open if there were any insurmountable difficulty is to add insult 598 to injury, when right at the beginning of the whole argument he made it abundantly clear that he was interested in consulting only about detail and not principle.
§ Mr. Mayhew
The Opposition have tried this evening to obtain some relief for some carefully selected categories of persons from the additional taxation that the Government and this Bill will heap upon them. They include the elderly retired, the disabled, and widows with children.
The Chief Secretary, earlier this evening, in rejecting these efforts, complained of our order of priorities. He complained that we would spend £53 million on Dives who has £30 a week of savings income, while neglecting Lazarus who has no savings income because he never intended to save a penny in his life.
In vain it was pointed out to the Chief Secretary that he was not being invited to spend any money, that he was merely being pressed to refrain from taking it. The Government cannot complain if that coinage is now returned to them. What sense of priority is it that leads to £10 million being spent not on the weakest but on the most powerful entities in the land—the trade unions? The elderly retired, the worn out, the widows and the disabled are, with a sneer, sent empty away. I shall say what order of priorities it is. It is the order of priorities of a Government whose vaunted compassion is bogus, and whose credo it is that might is right.
§ Mr. Peter Rees
If permitted to do so, I shall intervene briefly.
However much the Financial Secretary tries to obscure it in a mass of verbage and misleading analogies, the issue of the debate is very simple and can be reduced to the following propositions. The provident funds of the trade union movement were specially privileged in that their income attracted relief from tax. Yet that privilege was to be perpetuated, provided that the trade unions concerned registered under the Industrial Relations Act. Many, but not all, trade unions, for reasons quite unconnected with tax, and indeed for reasons probably unconnected with the long-term interests of their members, declined to register. They must take the consequences of that decision.
599 There is no constitutional precedent for this retrospective relief. The clause in which it is embodied is a squalid political job and should be recognised as such. Like my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Royal Tunbridge Wells (Mr. Mayhew), if there is £10 million of our money available for relief, I could think of many worthier beneficiaries.
§ Mr. Lawson
I shall be brief in what I have to say. I want to set the record straight. We have heard a most shabby defence from the Financial Secretary. He first tried to support his threadbare case by quoting something which he claimed had been said by my right hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton (Mr. Carr). When I looked up the quotation in the Official Report I discovered that my right hon. Friend was not uttering his own words but was quoting something the Prime Minister had said. In reply to my intervention the Financial Secretary read out a further passage from the Official Report ending with the answer "Yes". I looked that up, too, and I found that my right hon. Friend was replying to a hypothetical question from the Chancellor of the Exchequer which my right hon. Friend went on to explain, did not apply in this particular case. The whole point by the Financial Secretary is therefore nonsense.
Finally, I shall demolish the argument that all the money will go to provident funds of trade unions. That is manifest nonsense because, as is well known, many unions do not have separate provident funds and therefore in such cases the money must go into their general funds.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I intervened briefly earlier, but merely to comment on complaints by Conservative Members that in refunding the money precedents were being created which were against the taxpayers' interests. I sought to refresh the memory of the right hon. Member for Carshalton (Mr. Carr) by referring to the remarks in the debate in Committee on the Floor of the House by the then Solicitor-General, the right hon. and learned Member for Surrey, East (Sir G. Howe) on 9th and 10th February 1971. I shall not go over all the arguments that took place during those two days. I shall merely say that I asked the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether a union, 600 having decided not to register but subsequently deciding to do so, could recoup its retrospective losses by registering.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that a union could immediately recover on registrationor continue, all the benefits currently available under the Incomes and Corporation Taxes Act, 1970, in respect of provident society funds, which is what it now enjoys.He went onUnder the 1871 Act, registration enables a trade union to enjoy the benefits of a friendly society in respect of provident funds ".—[Official Report, 10th February 1971; Vol. 811, c. 660.]The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that a union could recover retrospectively. In other words he was saying that the Government of the day would ensure that the trade union did not suffer by its single act of non-registration if subsequently it decided to register.
The Government then gave the assurance that, retrospectively, they would ensure that the trade union did not lose. That is why I intervened. If the right hon. Gentleman looks at Hansard he will see that the Government said that the trade union concerned could recover the funds.
§ Mr. Robert Carr
I am sorry if I misunderstood the hon. Gentleman. My right hon. and learned Friend who was then Solicitor-General was describing what would happen if a union that had first decided not to register, subsequently decided to register. That is quite clear, and I agree with it. What I was also saying, however, was what would happen to a union which decided not to register and remained firm in its decision.
§ Mr. Carr
It is not vindictive at all, because we were saying that if a union subsequently decided to register it could recover in the way my right hon. and learned Friend described. On 23rd March 1971 I described what would happen if a union maintained its decision not to register. I said:I assure the House that if it were necessary to set up a special register for trade unions which wished not to register in the industrial relations sense, so that they could continue the other half of their activities, their provident fund activities, I would propose a special register. But it is not necessary. I have gone into this most carefully. I am told 601 that there is no technical, constitutional or legal difficulty. I am assured on technical advice that the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1965 or the Friendly Societies Act 1896 is available "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd March 1971; Vol. 814, c. 335.]Those Acts were available to trade unions to hive off their funds. In that way they could protect them from tax, which some trade unions have always done.
§ Mr. Atkinson
It follows that the right hon. Gentleman is still in sympathy with what his right hon. and learned Friend said when he promised that unions could recover if they subsequently changed their earlier decision. If the 1971 Act were still in existence, would the right hon. Gentleman still intend to honour the pledge and not harm the trade unions, allowing them retrospectively to recover the funds they originally lost—funds which the right hon. Gentleman now suggests they could have if they then registered?
§ Mr. Carr
I told the House then—and, to use the hon. Gentleman's words, I am still in sympathy with what I said—that I wished that trade unions which decided not to register should protect their funds. I took careful advice that there was a means by which they could do that. I still believe that those were valid means. If the unions found that, contrary to the advice I had received, they were not practicable means, they could and should have asked me or my successors to make a special register, such as I have just mentioned. They did not do so. If we had remained in power, and, therefore, the Act had remained on the statute book, and if they had subsequently made that request, I should have honoured my promise.
§ Mr. Sandelson
If we had another Tory Government which introduced a similar Act with the same measures, and then invited the trade unions to register, would the right hon. Gentleman concede that they should retrospectively recover those lost funds? If not, does it not seem to the right hon. Gentleman that there is a total lack of principle in the arguments that he is advancing?
§ 10.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Carr
There is no lack of principle. In my view, and in the view of many hon. Members not of my party, the unions deliberately refrained from 602 seeking to protect their funds, as part of their political campaign. They were entitled to take such a decision. What they are not entitled to do is to expect the general body of taxpayers to pay for their political campaign.
§ Mr. James Prior (Lowestoft)
I do not want to curtail the debate. I think that my right hon. and hon. Friends are glad to see Labour Members rising in their places and taking part in it. We do not mind how long it lasts. However, we think that this is one of the more irrelevant of the Government's gestures. It takes place in an atmosphere different from that which prevailed during the debate of 19th June. At that time the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Employment told us of the wickedness of the Industrial Relations Act. They said that if we repealed that wicked Act everything would be sweetness and light amongst the trade unions. They said that the sooner we paid the £10 million the better.
But the Government were not prepared to accept the will of the House on that occasion. They bring this matter back again in a rather shabby form. What has happened in the meanwhile? The Government may have won one election. Of course, we all know the extent of the bribes that were made to allow them to do so. The fact is that the economic situation has worsened. For the benefit of Labour Members I shall refer to the strike position since the election.
§ Mr. Prior
We were told that such matters were part of the social contract, the purpose of which was to create sweetness and light in the trade union movement. If that was not the purpose I do not know what was. The provisional figure of working days lost from 1st April to 30th November 1974 is 7,391,000. That represents a 158 per cent. increase compared with the figure for the comparable period of 1973.
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Royal Tunbridge Wells (Mr. Mayhew) and my hon. Friend the Member for Cleveland and Whitby (Mr. Brittan) have pointed out what could be done with the £10 million. I shall give the House a few examples. It could 603 have been spent in improving or replacing about 80 outdated primary schools. It could have provided nursery education for 70,000 children for one year. It could have provided cars for disabled persons in place of three-wheelers. It could have built a medium-sized district hospital. That is what we are talking about, and that is another of the objections that we have to this measure.
The present situation is a radical change. We recognise only too well that the Left wing is making a lot of noise tonight as it knows perfectly well—
§ Mr. John Mendelson
Withdraw. Does the right hon. Gentleman claim that my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson) is a member of the Left wing?
§ Mr. Prior
In the case of the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson), a notable exception, I withdraw. The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) knows that this is the last bone which we shall throw to the Left-wing dogs before they once more lose their licences.
Already we know only too well that the Prime Minister, having made a speech to the country, which I fully support, is about to have to talk to the Parliamentary Labour Party about removing licences from dogs which bark again. It is only a matter of time. This is bound to happen. The sooner the Left wing of the Labour Party realises that this is its last opportunity the better it will be for the country as a whole.
The argument tonight is exactly the same as was put forward during the debate on 19th June. We all know that the unions were determined, if they could, to defeat the Industrial Relations Act. They used—it was perfectly legitimate—the excuse of non-registration and the effect that this would have on their provident funds as one of the sticks with which to try to beat the Government. They hoped that this would succeed. In some respects they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
The Prime Minister arrived on the scene tonight to make some comment—presumably for tomorrow morning's Press—about the unfortunate dispute now raging over the printing of the newspapers, but he has forgotten all too 604 quickly exactly what was said in the document "In Place of Strife" in 1969. The Labour Government of that time accepted that unions should register and that a condition of registration should be that:Unions will be required to have rules governing certain matters. … Refusal will lay a trade union open to financial penalty by the Industrial BoardThe Government of the day knew that and the Prime Minister at that time knew exactly what would happen.
The unions knew that if they failed to register they had the alternative of going to the friendly societies and trying to set up a separate fund. We were told tonight that the unions tried to do so. This matter is obscure. We do not know which unions were involved. We do not know how hard they tried. In the debate, the Secretary of State for Employment, when challenged, said:The right hon. Gentleman says further that there was never any strong challenge, that nobody made representations about it. That is absolutely untrue. Some of my hon. Friends moved a clause as an amendment to last year's Finance Bill."—[Official Report, 19th June 1974; Vol. 875, c. 604.]That is the sum total of the objections made by the massive trade union movement, with its opportunities and with all the legal advice open to it which it can take when it wishes. All we hear is that two unspecified unions—presumably they were not very large—took a case to the friendly societies but proceeded no further with it. The only lame excuse that the Secretary of State can produce is that the Opposition of the day tried to move an amendment to the Finance Bill. That is the sum total.
Why does not the Government for once come clean with the Committee and admit that they knew that the unions acted as they did solely to try to break the Act, and that that was all they were interested in doing? If this meant that their widows and orphans suffered, they could not have cared a rap about that. That did not concern them. We were challenged on the question whether we thought it was fair that those widows and orphans should go without. That is not our responsibility. That is the responsibility of the unions, which are responsible for the funds. They have the perfect excuse. They had a perfectly logical reason for registering, and if they had done so their funds would have been protected. They 605 chose not to do so. They having chosen not to do so, it does not lie in the mouths of Government supporters to try to make out a plausible case for why they did not do so.
I add one comment, which is perhaps a more important principle than ever. The unions chose deliberately not to interpret the Act as it should have been interpreted. They chose deliberately not to register. Therefore, they chose deliberately to put their provident funds at risk. So a fresh Government decide that they have to make a retrospective piece of legislation to help them out.
§ Mr. Prior
As my hon. Friend says—a pre-election bribe, and it is in a retrospective piece of legislation.
We all know the challenges that the law faces at the moment. The problem which Government supporters will not acknowledge is that on some future occasion the case of the £10 million to the trade unions will be quoted as a precedent.
§ We had an example yesterday, in the case of the Shrewsbury pickets. We had the Prime Minister putting all the blame, as it were, on to his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. Why do not the Prime Minister and the rest of his Government do what the Secretary of State for Education and Science has done, and stand by the rule of law?
§ This is just another example of the present Government's trying, by retrospective legislation, to help people who have attempted to defeat the law. That is the principle involved in this issue. It is a shoddy proposal. It is one which should never have been brought back to this House. It is a proposal of which the Government ought to feel thoroughly ashamed. I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends will vote tonight with an enthusiasm that it may be they have not shown about some other matters. I ask them to show that enthusiasm tonight.
§ Question put, That the Clause stand part of the Bill:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 277, Noes 247.609
|Division No. 58.]||AYES||[11.00 p.m.|
|Allaun, Frank||Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)||Flannery, Martin|
|Archer, Peter||Corbett, Robin||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Cox, Thomas (Tooting)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston N)||Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E)||Foot, Rt Hon Michael|
|Atkinson, Norman||Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)||Ford, Ben|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Cronin, John||Forrester, John|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony||Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)|
|Barnett, Rt Hon Joel||Cryer, Bob||Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)|
|Bates, Alf||Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)||Freeson, Reginald|
|Bean, R. E.||Dalyeil, Tam||Garrett, John (Norwich S)|
|Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood||Davidson, Arthur||Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)|
|Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)||Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)||George, Bruce|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Davies, Denzil (Llanelli)||Gilbert, Dr John|
|Bishop, E. S.||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Ginsburg, David|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)||Golding, John|
|Boardman, H.||Deakins, Eric||Gould, Bryan|
|Booth, Albert||de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Gourlay, Harry|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur||Delargy, Hugh||Grant, George (Morpeth)|
|Boyden, James (Bish Auck)||Dell, Rt Hon Edmund||Grant, John (Islington C)|
|Bradley, Tom||Dempsey, James||Grocott, Bruce|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Doig, Peter||Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Dormand, J. D.||Hamling, William|
|Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)||Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Hardy, Peter|
|Buchan, Norman||Duffy, A. E. P.||Harper, Joseph|
|Buchanan, Richard||Dunn, James A.||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)|
|Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)||Dunnett, Jack||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy|
|Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)||Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Hatton, Frank|
|Campbell, Ian||Eadie, Alex||Hayman, Mrs Helene|
|Canavan, Dennis||Edelman, Maurice||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Cant, R. B.||Edge, Geoff||Hooley, Frank|
|Carmichael, Neil||Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)||Horam, John|
|Carter, Ray||Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)||Hoyle, Douglas (Nelson)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)||Huckfield, Les|
|Cartwright, John||English, Michael||Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)|
|Castle, Rt Hon Barbara||Ennals, David||Hughes, Mark (Durham)|
|Clemitson, Ivor||Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)||Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Cohen, Stanley||Evans, John (Newton)||Hunter, Adam|
|Coleman, Donald||Ewing, Harry (Stirling)||Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)|
|Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen||Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.||Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)|
|Concannon, J. D.||Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W)||Janner, Greville|
|Jay, Rt Hon Douglas||Molloy, William||Small, William|
|Jeger, Mrs Lena||Molyneaux, James||Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)|
|Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Moonman, Eric||Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)|
|John, Brynmor||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Snape, Peter|
|Johnson, James (Hull West)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Johnson, Walter (Derby S)||Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Jones, Alec (Rhondda)||Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick||Stallard, A. W.|
|Jones, Barry (East Flint)||Murray, Ronald King||Stewart, Rt Hn M. (Fulham)|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Newens, Stanley||Stoddart, David|
|Judd, Frank||Noble, Mike||Stott, Roger|
|Kaufman, Gerald||Oakes, Gordon||Strang, Gavin|
|Kelley, Richard||Ogden, Eric||Swain, Thomas|
|Kerr, Russell||O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)|
|Kilroy-Silk, Robert||Orbach, Maurice||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)|
|Kinnock Neil||Ovenden, John||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Lambie, David||Owen, Dr David||Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)|
|Lamborn, Harry||Padley, Walter||Thorne, Stan (Preston South)|
|Lamond, James||Palmer, Arthur||Tierney, Sydney|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Park, George||Tinn, James|
|Lee, John||Parker, John||Tomlinson, John|
|Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)||Parry, Robert||Torney, Tom|
|Lewis, Arthur (Newham N)||Pavitt, Laurie||Urwin, T. W.|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Perry, Ernest||Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.|
|Lipton, Marcus||Phipps, Dr Colin||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)|
|Litterick, Tom||Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch||Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)|
|Loyden, Eddie||Prentice, Rt Hon Reg||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Luard, Evan||Prescott, John||Walker, Terry (Kingswood)|
|Lyon, Alexander (York)||Price, C. (Lewisham W)||Watkins, David|
|Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)||Price, William (Rugby)||Watkinson, John|
|Mabon, Dr J. Dickson||Radice, Giles||Weetch, Ken|
|McCartney, Hugh||Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)||Weitzman, David|
|McCusker, H.||Richardson, Miss Jo||Wellbeloved, James|
|McElhone, Frank||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||White, Frank R. (Bury)|
|MacFarquhar, Roderick||Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)||White, James (Pollok)|
|Mackenzie, Gregor||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Whitehead, Phillip|
|McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)||Roderick, Caerwyn||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Madden, Max||Rodgers, George (Chorley)||Willey, Rt Hon Frederick|
|Magee, Bryan||Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Williams, Alan (Swansea W)|
|Mahon, Simon||Rooker, J. W.||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)|
|Marks, Kenneth||Roper, John||Williams, Rt Hn Shirley (Hertford)|
|Marquand, David||Rose, Paul B.||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)||Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)||Rowlands, Ted||Wilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)|
|Mason, Rt Hon Roy||Ryman, John||Wilson, William (Coventry SE)|
|Meacher, Michael||Sandelson, Neville||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Mellish, Rt Hon Robert||Sedgemore, Brian||Woodall, Alec|
|Mendelson, John||Selby, Harry||Woof, Robert|
|Mikardo, Ian||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Millan, Bruce||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)||Young, David (Bolton E)|
|Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)|
|Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)||Silverman, Julius||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)||Skinner, Dennis||Mr. James Hamilton and|
|Miss Betty Boothroyd.|
|Adley, Robert||Bulmer, Esmond||Emery, Peter|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Burden, F. A.||Eyre, Reginald|
|Alison, Michael||Carlisle, Mark||Fairgrieve, Russell|
|Amery, Rt Hon Julian||Carr, Rt Hon Robert||Farr, John|
|Arnold, Tom||Chalker, Mrs Lynda||Fell, Anthony|
|Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)||Channon, Paul||Finsberg, Geoffrey|
|Awdry, Daniel||Churchill, W. S.||Fisher, Sir Nigel|
|Bain, Mrs Margaret||Clark, William (Croydon S)||Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)|
|Baker, Kenneth||Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Fookes, Miss Janet|
|Banks, Robert||Cockcroft, John||Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd)|
|Beith, A. J.||Cooke, Robert (Bristol W)||Fox, Marcus|
|Bell, Ronald||Cope, John||Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)|
|Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham)||Cormack, Patrick||Freud, Clement|
|Berry, Hon Anthony||Corrie, John||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.|
|Biffen, John||Costain, A. P.||Gardiner, George (Reigate)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Crawford, Douglas||Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)|
|Blaker, Peter||Critchley, Julian||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)|
|Body, Richard||Crouch, David||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Crowder, F. P.||Godber, Rt Hon Joseph|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)||Dean, Paul (N Somerset)||Goodhart, Philip|
|Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)||Dodsworth, Geoffrey||Goodhew, Victor|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Goodlad, Alastair|
|Brittan, Leon||Drayson, Burnaby||Gorst, John|
|Brotherton, Michael||Durant, Tony||Gow, Ian (Eastbourne)|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Dykes, Hugh||Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick||Eden, Rt Hon Sir John||Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)|
|Buck, Antony||Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Gray Hamish|
|Budgen, Nick||Elliott, Sir William||Grieve, Percy|
|Grimond, Rt Hon J.||McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)||Royle, Sir Anthony|
|Grist, Ian||Madel, David||Sainsbury, Tim|
|Grylls, Michael||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)||Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)|
|Hall, Sir John||Marten, Neil||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Mather, Carol||Shepherd, Colin|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Maude, Angus||Shersby, Michael|
|Hannam, John||Mawby, Ray||Sims, Roger|
|Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Havers, Sir Michael||Mayhew, Patrick||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Hawkins, Paul||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Smith, Dudley (Warwick)|
|Hayhoe, Barney||Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)||Speed, Keith|
|Heath, Rt Hon Edward||Mills, Peter||Spence, John|
|Henderson, Douglas||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)|
|Hicks, Robert||Moate, Roger||Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)|
|Higgins, Terence L.||Monro, Hector||Sproat, Iain|
|Hooson, Emlyn||Montgomery, Fergus||Stainton, Keith|
|Hordern, Peter||Moore, John (Croydon C)||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Stanley, John|
|Howell, David (Guildford)||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral||Steel, David (Roxburgh)|
|Howells, Geraint (Cardigan)||Morris, Michael (Northampton S)||Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)|
|Hunt, John||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Hurd, Douglas||Morrison, Peter (Chester)||Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Neave, Airey||Stokes, John|
|Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)||Nelson, Anthony||Stradling Thomas, J.|
|James, David||Neubert, Michael||Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)|
|Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd)||Newton, Tony||Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)|
|Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)||Normanton, Tom||Tebbit, Norman|
|Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith||Nott, John||Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Onslow, Cranley||Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)|
|Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine||Oppenheim, Mrs Sally||Thompson, George|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Osborn, John||Townsend, Cyril D.|
|Kilfedder, James||Page, John (Harrow West)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Kimball, Marcus||Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)||Vaughan, Dr Gerard|
|King, Evelyn (South Dorset)||Pardoe, John||Viggers, Peter|
|King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Parkinson, Cecil||Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)|
|Kitson, Sir Timothy||Pattie, Geoffrey||Wakeham, John|
|Knight, Mrs Jill||Penhaligon, David||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Knox, David||Peyton, Rt Hon John||Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)|
|Lamont, Norman||Pink, R. Bonner||Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek|
|Lane, David||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Walters, Dennis|
|Lamont Michael (Melton)||Prior, Rt Hon James||Warren, Kenneth|
|Latham, Michael (Mellon)||Pym, Rt Hon Francis||Watt, Hamish|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Raison, Timothy||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Lawson, Nigel||Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)||Wells, John|
|Le Marchant, Spencer||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Welsh, Andrew|
|Lester, Jim (Beeston)||Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)||Whitelaw, Rt Hon William|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussax)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Lloyd, Ian||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)|
|Loveridge, John||Ridley, Hon Nicholas||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Luce, Richard||Ridsdale, Julian||Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)|
|MacCormick, Iain||Rifkind, Malcolm||Younger, Hon George|
|McCrindle, Robert||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)|
|Macfarlane, Neil||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|MacGregor, John||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Mr. Fred Silvester and|
|Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)||Rossi Hugh (Hornsey)||Mr. W. Benyon.|
|McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)||Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Clause 14 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ To report Progress and ask leave to sit again.—[Mr. Joel Barnett.]
§ Committee report Progress: to sit again Tomorrow.